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The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental
region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wo ...

region
in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
, that was once the historical
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental orga ...

Fertile Crescent
, and later the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
section of the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...

Roman
and
Byzantine empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine empire
s. It comprises
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
(both
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and
East Thrace East Thrace landscape in Edirne Province, Turkey East Thrace or Eastern Thrace ( tr, Doğu Trakya or simply ''Trakya''; el, Ανατολική Θράκη, ''Anatoliki Thraki''; bg, Източна Тракия, ''Iztochna Trakiya''), also kn ...
), and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
(mostly located in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, with the
Sinai Peninsula The Sinai Peninsula, or simply Sinai (now usually ) (, ), is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a land bridge between As ...

Sinai Peninsula
being in Asia). Despite having varying definitions within different academic circles, the term was originally applied to the maximum extent of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th a ...
. and has been replaced by the term ''
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
'', which includes Egypt, Western Asia and the
South Caucasus Transcaucasia, also known as the South Caucasus, is a geographical region on the border of Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise ...
. According to the
National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within ...
, the terms ''Near East'' and ''Middle East'' denote the same territories and are "generally accepted as comprising the countries of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue Line ...

Lebanon
,
Palestinian territories The term "Palestinian territories" has been used for many years to describe the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 within the former Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate for Palestine, namely the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and t ...

Palestinian territories
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
". In 1997, the
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a list of specialized ...
(FAO) of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
defined the region similarly, but also included
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; /: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a at the crossroads of and . Afghanistan is bordered by to the east and south; to the west; , , and to the north; and to the northeast. Occupyin ...

Afghanistan
.


Eastern Question

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th a ...
included all of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkans
, north to the southern edge of the
Great Hungarian Plain The Great Hungarian Plain (also known as Alföld or Great Alföld, hu, Alföld or ) is a plain occupying the majority of Hungary. It is the largest part of the wider Pannonian Plain. Its territory significantly shrunk due to its eastern and sout ...
. But by 1914, the empire had lost all of its territories except
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
and
Eastern Thrace Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...
to the rise of nationalist Balkan states, which saw the independence of the
Kingdom of Greece The Kingdom of Greece ( grc, label=Katharevousa, Greek, Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος ) was established in 1832 and was the successor state to the First Hellenic Republic. It was internationally recognised by the Treaty of Constant ...
,
Kingdom of Serbia The Kingdom of Serbia ( sr-cyr, Краљевина Србија, Kraljevina Srbija) was a country located in the Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a con ...
, the
Danubian Principalities in the mid 19th century Danubian Principalities ( ro, Principatele Dunărene, sr, Дунавске кнежевине, translit=Dunavske kneževine) was a conventional name given to the Principality, Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia ...
, and the
Kingdom of Bulgaria The Tsardom of Bulgaria ( bg, Царство България, translit=Tsarstvo Balgariya), also referred to as the Third Bulgarian Tsardom ( bg, Трето Българско Царство, translit=Treto Balgarsko Tsarstvo), sometimes transla ...
. Up until 1912, the Ottomans retained a band of territory including
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
,
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
and the
Adrianople Vilayet The Vilayet of Adrianople or Vilayet of Edirne ( ota, ولايت ادرنه; ''Vilâyet-i Edirne'') was a first-level administrative division (vilayet A vilayet (; french: vilaïet or () * bg, област (); or () * el, επαρχία (), ...
, which were lost in the two
Balkan Wars The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War. In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought against all four original comb ...

Balkan Wars
of 1912–13. The Ottoman Empire, believed to be about to collapse, was portrayed in the press as the "
sick man of Europe "Sick man of Europe" is a label given to a nation which is located in some part of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any stri ...
". The Balkan states, with the partial exception of
Bosnia Bosnia ( bs, Bosna / , ) is the north North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry) ...

Bosnia
and
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
, were primarily Christian, as was the majority of
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue Line ...

Lebanon
. Starting in 1894, the Ottomans struck at the
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, '' hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes An ...
on the explicit grounds that they were a non-Muslim people and as such were a potential threat to the Muslim empire within which they lived. The
Hamidian Massacres#REDIRECT Hamidian massacres The Hamidian massacres ( hy , Համիդյան ջարդեր, tr , Hamidiye Katliamı, french: Massacres hamidiens), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896. were massacres of Armenians in the Ottoma ...
aroused the indignation of the entire Christian world. In the United States the now aging
Julia Ward Howe Julia Ward Howe (; May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910) was an American poet and author, known for writing " The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the original 1870 pacifist Mother's Day Proclamation. She was also an advocate for Abolitionism ...

Julia Ward Howe
, author of the
Battle Hymn of the Republic The "Battle Hymn of the Republic", also known as "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" outside of the United States, is a popular American patriotic song by the abolitionist writer Julia Ward Howe Julia Ward Howe (; May 27, 1819 – October 17 ...

Battle Hymn of the Republic
, leaped into the war of words and joined the
Red Cross The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international movement with approximately 97 million , members and staff worldwide, which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to ...

Red Cross
. Relations of minorities within the Ottoman Empire and the disposition of former Ottoman lands became known as the "
Eastern Question In diplomatic history, the Eastern Question was the issue of the political and economic instability in the Ottoman Empire from the late 18th to early 20th centuries and the subsequent strategic competition and political considerations of the Europea ...
", as the Ottomans were on the east of Europe. It now became relevant to define the east of the eastern question. In about the middle of the nineteenth century, ''Near East'' came into use to describe that part of the east closest to Europe. The term ''
Far East The Far East is a term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeaster ...
'' appeared contemporaneously meaning
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Korea Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided between two countries at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and South Korea (the Republic of Korea). Korea co ...

Korea
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
. ''Near East'' applied to what had been mainly known as the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, which was in the jurisdiction of the
Ottoman Porte , was known as the Sublime Porte until the 18th century. Image:DSC04009 Istanbul - La Sublime Porta - Foto G. Dall'Orto 25-5-2006.jpg, 300px, The later Sublime Porte proper in 2006 The Sublime Porte, also known as the Ottoman Porte or High Porte ...
, or government. Europeans could not set foot on most of the shores of the southern and central Mediterranean from the
Gulf of Sidra Gulf of Sidra, ( ar, خليج السدرة, ''Khalij as-Sidra''; it, Golfo di Sidra), after the oil port of Sidra, or Gulf of Sirte ( ar, خليج سرت, ''Khalij Surt''; it, Golfo della Sirte), after the city of Sirte, is a body of water in ...
to
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
without permits from the Ottoman Empire. Some regions beyond the Ottoman Porte were included. One was North Africa west of Egypt. It was occupied by piratical kingdoms of the
Barbary Coast The terms Barbary Coast, Barbary, Berbery or Berber Coast were used in English-language sources (similarly to equivalent terms in other languages) from the 16th century to the early 19th to refer to the coastal regions of North Africa Nort ...
, ''de facto''-independent since the eighteenth century, formerly part of the empire at its apogee.
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
was included because it could not easily be reached except through the Ottoman Empire or neighboring Russia. In the 1890s the term tended to focus on the conflicts in the Balkan states and Armenia. The demise of "the sick man of Europe" left considerable confusion as to what was to be meant by "Near East". It is now generally used only in historical contexts, to describe the countries of
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
from the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
to (or including)
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. There is, in short, no universally-understood fixed inventory of nations, languages or historical assets defined to be in it.


Background

The geographical terms ''Near East'' and ''Far East'' referring to areas of the globe in or contiguous to the former
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
and the neighboring colonies of the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and Germans, fit together as a pair based on the opposites of far and near, suggesting that they were innovated together. They appear together in the journals of the mid-19th century. Both terms were used before then with local British and American meanings: the near or far east of a field, village or shire.


Ideas of the east up to the Crimean War

There was a linguistic predisposition to use such terms. The Romans had used them in near Gaul / far Gaul, near Spain / far Spain and others. Before them the Greeks had the habit, which appears in
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
, the oldest known script of Europe, referring to the near province and the far province of the kingdom of
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
. Usually these terms were given with reference to a geographic feature, such as a mountain range or a river.
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
's ''Geography'' divided Asia on a similar basis. In the north is "Scythia this side of the Himalayas" and "Scythia beyond the Himalayas". To the south is "India on this side of the Ganges" and "India beyond the Ganges". Asia began on the coast of
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
("land of the rising Sun"). Beyond the
Ganges The Ganges ( ) (in India: Ganga ( ); in Bangladesh: Padma River, Padma ( )). "The Ganges Basin, known in India as the Ganga and in Bangladesh as the Padma, is an international river to which India, Bangladesh, Nepal and China are the riparian ...

Ganges
and
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Ind ...

Himalayas
(including the
Tien Shan The Tian Shan,; dng, Тянсан, ; otk, 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, ; tr, Tanrı Dağı; mn, Тэнгэр уул, ; ug, تەڭرىتاغ, , ; kk, Тәңіртауы / Алатау, , ; ky, Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, , ; uz, Tyan- ...
) were
Serica Serica (, grc, Σηρικά) was one of the easternmost countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are ...
and
SeraeSerae ሰራየ (or ''SerayeSerae ሰራየ (or ''Seraye'') is a former Provinces of Eritrea, province of Eritrea which had an estimated population of 515,000 in 1990 (the most populous province) and an area of . The province is home to two of the E ...
(sections of
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
) and some other identifiable far eastern locations known to the voyagers and geographers but not to the general European public. By the time of John Seller's ''Atlas Maritima'' of 1670, "India Beyond the Ganges" had become "the
East Indies 300px, The East Indies (or simply the Indies), is a term used in historical narratives of the Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), ...
" including China, Korea, southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific in a map that was every bit as distorted as Ptolemy's, despite the lapse of approximately 1,500 years. That "east" in turn was only an English translation of Latin ''Oriens'' and ''Orientalis'', "the land of the rising Sun", used since Roman times for "east". The world map of
Jodocus Hondius Jodocus Hondius (Latinized version of his Dutch language, Dutch name: ''Joost de Hondt'') (14 October 1563 – 12 February 1612) was a Flemish people, Flemish and Netherlandish engraving, engraver and cartographer. He is sometimes called Jodo ...

Jodocus Hondius
of 1590 labels all of Asia from the Caspian to the Pacific as ''India Orientalis'', shortly to appear in translation as the East Indies.
Elizabeth I of England Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen regnant of England, Queen of England and Queen regnant of Ireland, Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Sometimes referred to as the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth was the last ...

Elizabeth I of England
, primarily interested in trade with the east, collaborated with English merchants to form the first trading companies to the far-flung regions, using their own jargon. Their goals were to obtain trading concessions by treaty. The queen chartered the Company of Merchants of the Levant, shortened to
Levant Company The Levant Company was an English chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one ...
, and soon known also as The Turkey Company, in 1581. In 1582, the ship ''The Great Susan'' transported the first ambassador, William Harebone, to the
Ottoman Porte , was known as the Sublime Porte until the 18th century. Image:DSC04009 Istanbul - La Sublime Porta - Foto G. Dall'Orto 25-5-2006.jpg, 300px, The later Sublime Porte proper in 2006 The Sublime Porte, also known as the Ottoman Porte or High Porte ...
(government of the Ottoman Empire) at
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
. Compared to Anatolia,
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
also means "land of the rising sun", but where Anatolia always only meant the projection of land currently occupied by the Republic of Turkey, Levant meant anywhere in the domain ruled by the Ottoman Porte. The
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after Acts of Union 1707, 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known a ...
(short for a much longer formal name) was chartered in 1600 for trade to the East Indies. It has pleased western historians to write of a
decline of the Ottoman Empire In the late eighteenth century, the () faced numerous enemies. In response to these threats, the empire initiated a period of internal reform which came to be known as the , which succeeded in significantly strengthening the Ottoman central stat ...
as though a stable and uncontested polity of that name once existed. The borders did expand and contract but they were always dynamic and always in "question" right from the beginning. The Ottoman Empire was created from the lands of the former
eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

eastern Roman Empire
on the occasion of the latter's violent demise. The last Roman emperor died fighting hand-to-hand in the streets of his capital, Constantinople, overwhelmed by the Ottoman military, in May 1453. The victors inherited his remaining territory in the Balkans. The populations of those lands did not accept Turkish rule. The Turks to them were foreigners with a completely different set of customs, way of life, and language. Intervals when there was no unrest were rare. The Hungarian lands under Turkish rule had become part of the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
by 1688. in the
Great Turkish War The Great Turkish War (german: Großer Türkenkrieg) or the Wars of the Holy League ( tr, Kutsal İttifak Savaşları) was a series of conflicts between the and the consisting of the , , , , and . Intensive fighting began in 1683 and ended with ...
. The
Serbian Revolution The Serbian Revolution ( sr, Српска револуција / ''Srpska revolucija'') was a nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a sha ...
, 1804–1833. created modern Serbia. The
Greek War of Independence The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution of 1821 or Greek Revolution ( el, Ελληνική Επανάσταση, ''Elliniki Epanastasi''; referred to by Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''É ...
, 1821–1832, created modern Greece, which recovered most of the lands of ancient Greece, but could not gain Constantinople. The Ottoman Porte was continuously under attack from some quarter in its empire, primarily the Balkans. Also, on a number of occasions in the early 19th century, American and British warships had to attack the
Barbary pirates 1650 The Barbary pirates, or Barbary corsairs or Ottoman corsairs, were Muslims, Muslim privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. This area was known in Europe as the Barbary Coast ...
to stop their piracy and recover thousands of enslaved Europeans and Americans. In 1853 the Russian Empire on behalf of the Slavic Balkan states began to question the very existence of the Ottoman Empire. The result was the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. ...
, 1853–1856, in which the British Empire and the French Empire supported the Ottoman Empire in its struggle against the incursions of the Russian Empire. Eventually, the Ottoman Empire lost control of the Balkan region.


Original diplomatic concept of Near East

Until about 1855, the terms Near East and Far East did not refer to any particular region. The Far East, a phrase containing a noun, East, qualified by an adjective, far, could be at any location in the "far east" of the speaker's home territory. The Ottoman Empire, for example, was the far East as much as the East Indies. The
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. ...
brought a change in vocabulary with the introduction of terms more familiar to the late 19th century. The Russian Empire had entered a more aggressive phase, becoming militarily active against the Ottoman Empire and also against China, with territorial aggrandizement explicitly in mind. Rethinking its policy the British government decided that the two polities under attack were necessary for the balance of power. It therefore undertook to oppose the Russians in both places, one result being the Crimean War. During that war the administration of the British Empire began promulgating a new vocabulary, giving specific regional meaning to "the Near East", the Ottoman Empire, and "the Far East", the East Indies. The two terms were now compound nouns often shown hyphenated. In 1855, a reprint of a letter earlier sent to ''
The Times ''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Register'', adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. ''The Times'' and its s ...
'' appeared in ''Littell's Living Age''. Its author, an "official Chinese interpreter of 10 years' active service" and a member of the
Oriental Club The Oriental Club in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of i ...
, Thomas Taylor Meadows, was replying to the suggestion by another interpreter that the British Empire was wasting its resources on a false threat from Russia against China. Toward the end of the letter he said: Much of the colonial administration belonged to this club, which had been formed by the
Duke of Wellington Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, (1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish people, Anglo-Irish soldier and Tories (British political party), Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political fi ...

Duke of Wellington
. Meadows' terminology must represent usage by that administration. If not the first use of the terms, the letter to the ''Times'' was certainly one of the earliest presentations of this vocabulary to the general public. They became immediately popular, supplanting "Levant" and "East Indies", which gradually receded to minor usages and then began to change meaning.


Original archaeological concept of nearer east

''Near East'' remained popular in diplomatic, trade and journalistic circles, but a variation soon developed among the scholars and the men of the cloth and their associates: ''the Nearer East'', reverting to the classical and then more scholarly distinction of ''nearer'' and ''farther''. They undoubtedly saw a need to separate the biblical lands from the terrain of the Ottoman Empire. The Christians saw the country as the land of the Old and New Testaments, where Christianity had developed. The scholars in the field of studies that eventually became biblical archaeology attempted to define it on the basis of archaeology. For example, ''The London Review'' of 1861 (Telford and Barber, unsigned) in reviewing several works by Rawlinson,
Layard
Layard
and others, defined themselves as making: "... an imperfect conspectus of the arrow-headed writings of the nearer east; writings which cover nearly the whole period of the postdiluvian Old Testament history ..." By arrow-headed writings they meant
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is name ...

cuneiform
texts. In defense of the Bible as history they said: "The primeval nations, that piled their glorious homes on the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Nile, are among us again with their archives in their hands; ..." They further defined the nations as "... the countries lying between the Caspian, the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean ..." The regions in their inventory were Assyria, Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Persia, Armenia, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Ancient Israel, Ethiopia, Caucasus, Libya, Anatolia and Abyssinia. Explicitly excluded is India. No mention is made of the Balkans. The British archaeologist D. G. Hogarth published ''The Nearer East'' in 1902, in which he stated his view of "The Near East": Hogarth then proceeds to say where and why in some detail, but no more mention is made of the classics. His analysis is
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
. His map delineates the Nearer East with regular lines as though surveyed. They include Iran, the Balkans, but not the Danube lands, Egypt, but not the rest of North Africa. Except for the Balkans, the region matches the later Middle East. It differs from the Ottoman Empire of the times in including Greece and Iran. Hogarth gives no evidence of being familiar with the contemporaneous initial concept of the Middle East.


Balkan confusion

In the last years of the 19th century, the term ''Near East'' acquired considerable disrepute in eyes of the English-speaking public as did the Ottoman Empire itself. The cause of the onus was the religiously motivated
Hamidian Massacres#REDIRECT Hamidian massacres The Hamidian massacres ( hy , Համիդյան ջարդեր, tr , Hamidiye Katliamı, french: Massacres hamidiens), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896. were massacres of Armenians in the Ottoma ...
of Christian
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
ns, but it seemed to spill over into the protracted conflicts of the Balkans. For a time, "Near East" meant primarily the Balkans. Robert Hichens' book The Near East (1913) is subtitled Dalmatia, Greece and Constantinople.


Sir Henry Norman and his first wife

The change is evident in the reports of influential British travelers to the Balkans. In 1894,
Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet (19 September 18584 June 1939) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, e ...
, a journalist, traveled to the Far East, afterwards writing a book called ''The Peoples and Politics of the Far East'', which came out in 1895. By "Far East" he meant
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been Russian conquest of Siberia, part of modern Russia since the latter half of th ...

Siberia
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
,
Korea Korea is a region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided between two countries at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and South Korea (the Republic of Korea). Korea co ...

Korea
,
Siam ) , royal_anthem = '' Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It is known in Thai language, ...

Siam
and Malaya. As the book was a big success, he was off to the Balkan states with his wife in 1896 to develop detail for a sequel, ''The People and Politics of the Near East'', which Scribners planned to publish in 1897. Mrs. Norman, a writer herself, wrote glowing letters of the home and person of Mme. Zakki, "the wife of a Turkish cabinet minister," who, she said, was a cultivated woman living in a country home full of books. As for the natives of the Balkans, they were "a semi-civilized people". The planned book was never published, however Norman published the gist of the book, mixed with vituperation against the Ottoman Empire, in an article in June, 1896, in Scribner's Magazine. The empire had descended from an enlightened civilization ruling over barbarians for their own good to something considerably less. The difference was the
Hamidian Massacres#REDIRECT Hamidian massacres The Hamidian massacres ( hy , Համիդյան ջարդեր, tr , Hamidiye Katliamı, french: Massacres hamidiens), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896. were massacres of Armenians in the Ottoma ...
, which were being conducted even as the couple traveled the Balkans. According to Norman now, the empire had been established by "the Moslem horde" from
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
, which was stopped by "intrepid
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
." Furthermore, "Greece shook off the turbaned destroyer of her people" and so on. The Russians were suddenly liberators of oppressed Balkan states. Having portrayed the Armenians as revolutionaries in the name of freedom with the expectation of being rescued by the intervention of
Christian Europe Christendom historically refers to the "Christian world": Christian states, Christian-majority countries and the countries in which Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on th ...
, he states "but her hope was vain." England had "turned her back." Norman concluded his exhortation with "In the Balkans, one learns to hate the Turk." Norman made sure that
Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread ove ...

Gladstone
read the article. Prince Nicolas of Montenegro wrote a letter thanking him for his article. Throughout this article, Norman uses "Near East" to mean the countries where "the eastern question" applied; that is, to all of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkans
. The countries and regions mentioned are
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...

Serbia
,
Bosnia-Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia-Herzegovina
(which was
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
and needed, in his view, to be suppressed),
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in . It is located on the and is a part of the , sharing borders with to the northeast, to the north and west, to the east, to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and to the ...

Montenegro
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
. The rest of the
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
domain is demoted to just "the East".


William Miller

If Norman was apparently attempting to change British policy, it was perhaps William Miller (1864–1945), journalist and expert on the Near East, who did the most in that direction. In essence, he signed the death warrant, so to speak, of the Age of Empires. The fall of the Ottoman Empire ultimately enmeshed all the others as well. In the ''Travel and Politics in the Near East'', 1898, Miller claimed to have made four trips to the Balkans, 1894, 1896, 1897 and 1898, and to be, in essence, an expert on "the Near East", by which he primarily meant the Balkans. Apart from the fact that he attended Oxford and played
Rugby Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
, not many biographical details have been promulgated. He was, in effect (whatever his formal associations if any), a point man of British Near Eastern intelligence. In Miller's view, the Ottoman officials were unfit to rule: These were fighting words to be coming from a country that once insisted Europe needed Turkey and was willing to spill blood over it. For his authority Miller invokes the people, citing the "collective wisdom" of Europe, and introducing a concept to arise many times in the decades to follow under chilling circumstances: "... no final solution of the difficulty has yet been found." Miller's final pronouncements on the topic could not be ignored by either the British or the Ottoman governments: If the British Empire was now going to side with the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire had no choice but to cultivate a relationship with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was supported by the German Empire. In a few years these alignments became the
Triple Entente The Triple Entente (from French ''Entente (type of alliance), entente'' meaning "friendship, understanding, agreement") describes the informal understanding between the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great B ...

Triple Entente
and the Triple Alliance (already formed in 1882), which were in part a cause of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. By its end in 1918 three empires were gone, a fourth was about to fall to revolution, and two more, the British and French, were forced to yield in revolutions started under the aegis of their own ideologies.


Arnold Toynbee

By 1916, when millions of Europeans were becoming casualties of imperial war in the trenches of eastern and western Europe over "the eastern question",
Arnold J. Toynbee Arnold Joseph Toynbee (; 14 April 1889 – 22 October 1975) was a British historian, a philosopher of history, an author of numerous books and a research professor of comparative history, international history at the London School of Economics ...
, Hegelesque historian of civilization at large, was becoming metaphysical about the Near East. Geography alone was not a sufficient explanation of the terms, he believed. If the Ottoman Empire had been a sick man, then:
There has been something pathological about the history of this Near Eastern World. It has had an undue share of political misfortunes, and had lain for centuries in a kind of spiritual paralysis between East and West—belonging to neither, partaking paradoxically of both, and wholly unable to rally itself decidedly to one or the other.
Having supposed that it was sick, he kills it off: "The Near East has never been more true to itself than in its lurid dissolution; past and present are fused together in the flare." To Toynbee the Near East was a spiritual being of a "
Janus In ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, ...

Janus
-character", connected to both east and west:
The limits of the Near East are not easy to define. On the north-west, Vienna is the most conspicuous boundary-mark, but one might almost equally well single out Trieste or Lvov or even Prag. Towards the southeast, the boundaries are even more shadowy. It is perhaps best to equate them with the frontiers of the Arabic language, yet the genius of the Near East overrides linguistic barriers, and encroaches on the Arabicspeaking world on the one side as well as on the German-speaking world on the other. Syria is essentially a Near Eastern country, and a physical geographer would undoubtedly carry the Near Eastern frontiers up to the desert belt of the Sahara, Nefud and Kevir.
From the death of the Near East new nations were able to rise from the ashes, notably the Republic of Turkey. Paradoxically it now aligned itself with the west rather than with the east.
Mustafa Kemal Mustafa ( ar, مصطفى , Muṣṭafā) is one of the names of Muhammad ) , birth_date = , birth_place = , death_date = , death_place = , resting_place = , resting_place_coordinates = , nationa ...

Mustafa Kemal
, its founder, a former Ottoman high-ranking officer, was insistent on this social revolution, which, among other changes, liberated women from the strait rules still in effect in most Arabic-speaking countries. The demise of the political Near East now left a gap where it had been, into which stepped the Middle East.


Rise of the Middle East


Origin of the concept of Middle East

The term ''middle east'' as a noun and adjective was common in the 19th century in nearly every context except diplomacy and archaeology. An uncountable number of places appear to have had their middle easts from gardens to regions, including the United States. The innovation of the term ''Near East'' to mean the holdings of the Ottoman Empire as early as the Crimean War had left a geographical gap. The East Indies, or "Far East", derived ultimately from
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
's "India Beyond the Ganges." The Ottoman Empire ended at the eastern border of Iraq. "India This Side of the Ganges" and Iran had been omitted. The archaeologists counted Iran as "the Near East" because Old Persian cuneiform had been found there. This usage did not sit well with the diplomats; India was left in an equivocal state. They needed a regional term. The use of the term ''Middle East'' as a region of international affairs apparently began in British and American diplomatic circles quite independently of each other over concern for the security of the same country: Iran, then known to the west as Persia. In 1900
Thomas Edward Gordon Sir Thomas Edward Gordon (12 January 1832 – 23 March 1914) was a Scottish soldier, diplomat, and traveller. A British Army officer, he fought in India, served as a diplomat in Tehran, and travelled across the Pamirs. He is primarily remembered ...
published an article, ''The Problem of the Middle East'', which began:
It may be assumed that the most sensitive part of our external policy in the Middle East is the preservation of the independence and integrity of Persia and Afghanistan. Our active interest in Persia began with the present century, and was due to the belief that the invasion of India by a European Power was a probable event.
The threat that caused Gordon, diplomat and military officer, to publish the article was resumption of work on a railway from Russia to the Persian Gulf. Gordon, a published author, had not used the term previously, but he was to use it from then on. A second strategic personality from American diplomatic and military circles,
Alfred Thayer Mahan Alfred Thayer Mahan (; September 27, 1840 – December 1, 1914) was a United States naval officer and historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A ...
, concerned about the naval vulnerability of the trade routes in the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
and
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
, commented in 1902:
The middle East, if I may adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar; it does not follow that either will be in the Gulf. Naval force has the quality of mobility which carries with it the privilege of temporary absences; but it needs to find on every scene of operation established bases of refit, of supply, and, in case of disaster, of security. The British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force, if occasion arise, about Aden, India, and the Gulf.
Apparently the sailor did not connect with the soldier, as Mahan believed he was innovating the term ''Middle East''. It was, however, already there to be seen.


Single region concept

Until the period following World War I the Near East and the Middle East coexisted, but they were not always seen as distinct. Bertram Lenox Simpson, a colonial officer killed eventually in China, uses the terms together in his 1910 book, ''The Conflict of Color'', as "the Near and Middle East". The total super-region consisted of "India, Afghanistan, Persia, Arabistan, Asia Minor, and last, but not least, Egypt." Simpson (under his pen-name, Weale) explains that this entire region "is politically one region – in spite of the divisions into which it is academically divided." His own term revives ''the Nearer East'' as opposed to ''the Far East''. The basis of Simpson's unity is color and colonial subjection. His color chart recognizes a spectrum of black, brown and yellow, which at the time had been traditional since the late 19th century. Apart from these was "the great white race", which the moderate Simpson tones down to simply the white race. The great whites were appearing as late as the 1920s works of James Henry Breasted, which were taught as the gospel of ancient history throughout the entire first half of the 20th century. A red wavelength was mainly of interest in America. The eastern question was modified by Simpson to "The Problem of the Nearer East", which had nothing to do with the Ottomans but everything to do with British colonialism. Simpson wrote of the white man:
... in India, in Central Asia, and in all the regions adjacent to the Near East, he still boldly remains a conqueror in possession of vast stretches of valuable territory; a conqueror who has no intention of lightly surrendering his conquests, and who indeed sees in every attempt to modify the old order of things a most hateful and unjustifiable revolt which must at all costs be repressed. This is so absolutely true that no candid person will be inclined to dispute it.
These regions were occupied by "the brown men", with the yellow in the Far East and the black in Africa. The color issue was not settled until Kenya became independent in 1963, ending the last significant possession of the British Empire. This view reveals a somewhat less than altruistic Christian intent of the British Empire; however, it was paradoxical from the beginning, as Simpson and most other writers pointed out. The Ottomans were portrayed as the slavers, but even as the American and British fleets were striking at the Barbary pirates on behalf of freedom, their countries were promulgating a vigorous African slave trade of their own. Only later in 1807 did the British enact legislation prohibiting the Atlantic slave trade, as did the United States Congress in that same year. Charles George Gordon is known as the saint of all British colonial officers. A dedicated Christian, he spent his time between assignments living among the poor and donating his salary on their behalf. He won Ottoman confidence as a junior officer in the Crimean War. In his later career he became a high official in the Ottoman Empire, working as Governor of Egypt for the Ottoman khedive for the purpose of conducting campaigns against slavers and slavery in Egypt and the Sudan.


One presumed region, one name

The term ''Near and Middle East'', held the stage for a few years before World War I. It proved to be less acceptable to a colonial point of view that saw the entire region as one. In 1916 Captain T. C. Fowle, 40th Pathans (troops of British India), wrote of a trip he had taken from Karachi to
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
just before the war. The book does not contain a single instance of "Near East". Instead, the entire region is considered "the Middle East". The formerly Near Eastern sections of his trip are now "Turkish" and not Ottoman. Subsequently, with the disgrace of ''Near East'' in diplomatic and military circles, ''Middle East'' prevailed. However, ''Near East'' continues in some circles at the discretion of the defining agency or academic department. They are not generally considered distinct regions as they were at their original definition. Although racial and colonial definitions of the Middle East are no longer considered ideologically sound, the sentiment of unity persists. For much, but by no means all, of the Middle East, the predominance of Islam lends some unity, as does the transient accident of geographical continuity. Otherwise there is but little basis except for history and convention to lump together peoples of multiple, often unrelated languages, governments, loyalties and customs.


Current meaning


Diplomatic

In the 20th century, subsequent to major warfare and decades of intense political turmoil, the terms, such as ''Near East'', ''Far East'', and ''Middle East'' continued to be used, but evolved in their meaning and scope. This increased confusion, the resolution of which became the study of experts in the new field of political science. The new wave of diplomats often came from those programmes. Archaeology on the international scene, though very much of intellectual interest to major universities, was overshadowed by international relations. The archaeologists' domain became the Ancient Near East, which could no longer be relied upon to be the actual Near East. The Ottoman Empire was gone, along with all the other empires of the 19th century, replaced in the region with a number of republics with various affinities, regional and global. The many and varied specialized agencies that were formed to handle specific aspects of complex international relations, evolved with the terms. Definitions from the present came to be not in concert with those of the past. Reconciling these terms and their definitions remains difficult due to ongoing territorial disputes and non-free nuclear powers' territorial ambitions, putting any reconciliation of definitions out of scope of diplomatic corps in the classical sense. The ancient Near East is frozen in time. The living Near East is primarily what the agencies each define as a matter of practice; often guided by their political leadership. In most cases, this single term is inadequate to describe the geographical range in practical applications. This has resulted is multiple definitions used differently by each major region, power, or institution.


Influential agencies represented in the table

The United States is the chief remaining nation to assign official responsibilities to a region called the Near East. Within the government the State Department has been most influential in promulgating the Near Eastern regional system. The countries of the former empires of the 19th century have in general abandoned the term and the subdivision in favor of Middle East, North Africa, and various forms of Asia. In many cases, such as France, no distinct regional substructures have been employed. Each country has its own French diplomatic apparatus, although regional terms, including Proche-Orient and Moyen-Orient, can be used in a descriptive sense. Some of the most influential agencies in the United States still use Near East as a working concept. For example, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, a division of the United States Department of State, is perhaps the most influential agency to still use the term ''Near East''. Under the United States Secretary of State, Secretary of State, it implements the official diplomacy of the United States, called also statecraft by Secretary Hillary Clinton. The name of the bureau is traditional and historic. There is, however, no distinct Middle East. All official Middle Eastern affairs are referred to this bureau. Working closely in conjunction with the definition of the Near East provided by the State Department is the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA), an educational institution of the United States Department of Defense. It teaches courses and holds seminars and workshops for government officials and military officers who will work or are working within its region. As the name indicates, that region is a combination of State Department regions; however, NESA is careful to identify the State Department region. As its Near East is not different from the State Department's it does not appear in the table. Its name, however, is not entirely accurate. For example, its region includes Mauritania, a member of the State Department's Africa (Sub-Sahara). The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is a non-profit organization for research and advice on Middle Eastern policy. It regards its target countries as the Middle East but adopts the convention of calling them the Near East to be in conformance with the practices of the State Department. Its views are independent. The WINEP bundles the countries of Northwest Africa together under "North Africa". Details can be found in ''Policy Focus #65''.


Table of near eastern countries recognized by various agencies

''Legend:'' included; excluded


Other regional systems

The
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
formulates multiple regional divisions as is convenient for its various operations. But few of them include a Near East, and that poorly defined. UNICEF recognizes the "Middle East and North Africa" region, where the Middle East is bounded by the Red Sea on the west and includes Iran on the east. UNESCO recognizes neither a Near East nor a Middle East, dividing the countries instead among three regions: Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, and Africa. Its division "does not forcibly reflect geography" but "refers to the execution of regional activities." The United Nations Statistics Division defines
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
to contain the countries included elsewhere in the Middle East. Its total area extends further into Central Asia than that of most agencies. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a quasi-independent agency of the United States Government. It appears to have multiple leadership. Although its director is appointed by the president. It plays a significant role in providing the president with intelligence. However, Congress oversees its operations through a committee. The CIA was first formed under the National Security Act of 1947 from the army's Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which furnished both military intelligence and clandestine military operations to the army during the crisis of World War II. Many revisions and redefinitions have taken place since then. Although the name of the CIA reflects the original advised intent of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, the government's needs for strategic services have frustrated that intent from the beginning. The press received by the agency in countless articles, novels and other media have tended to create various popular myths; for example, that this agency replaced any intelligence effort other than that of the OSS, or that it contains the central intelligence capability of the United States. Strategic services are officially provided by some 17 agencies called the United States Intelligence Community, Intelligence Community. Army intelligence did not come to an end; in fact, all the branches of the Armed Forces retained their intelligence services. This community is currently under the leadership (in addition to all its other leadership) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Under these complex circumstances regional names are less useful. They are more historical than an accurate gauge of operations. The Directorate of Intelligence, one of four directorates into which the CIA is divided, includes the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis (NESA). Its duties are defined as "support on Middle Eastern and North African countries, as well as on the South Asian nations of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan." The total range of countries is in fact the same as the State Department's Near East, but the names do not correspond. The Near East of the NESA is the same as the Middle East defined in the CIA-published on-line resource, ''The World Factbook''. Its list of countries is limited by the Red Sea, comprises the entire eastern coast of the Mediterranean, including Israel, Turkey, the small nations of the Caucasus, Iran and the states of the Arabian Peninsula. The United States Agency for International Development, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent agency under the Department of State established in place of the Marshall Plan for the purpose of determining and distributing foreign aid, does not use the term ''Near East''. Its definition of Middle East corresponds to that of the State Department, which officially prefers the term ''Near East''. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of United Kingdom recognises a Middle East and North Africa region, but not a Near East. Their original Middle East consumed the Near East as far as the Red Sea, ceded India to the Asia and Oceania region, and went into partnership with North Africa as far as the Atlantic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic conducts "bilateral relationships" with the countries of the "Mediterranean – Middle East Region" but has formulated no Near East Region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey also does not use the term ''Near East''. Its regions include the Middle East, the Balkans and others.


Archaeological

The Ancient Near East is a term of the 20th century intended to stabilize the geographical application of Near East to ancient history. The Near East may acquire varying meanings, but the Ancient Near East always has the same meaning: the ancient nations, people and languages of the enhanced
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental orga ...

Fertile Crescent
, a sweep of land from the Nile Valley through Anatolia and southward to the limits of Mesopotamia. Resorting to this verbal device, however, did not protect the "Ancient Near East" from the inroads of "the Middle East". For example, a high point in the use of "Ancient Near East" was for Biblical scholars the ''Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament'' by James B. Pritchard, James Bennett Pritchard, a textbook of first edition dated 1950. The last great book written by Leonard Woolley, British archaeologist, excavator of ancient Ur and associate of T. E. Lawrence and Arthur Evans, was ''The Art of the Middle East, Including Persia, Mesopotamia and Palestine'', published in 1961. Woolley had completed it in 1960 two weeks before his death. The geographical ranges in each case are identical. Parallel with the growth of specialized agencies for conducting or supporting statescraft in the second half of the 20th century has been the collection of resources for scholarship and research typically in university settings. Most universities teaching the liberal arts have library and museum collections. These are not new; however, the erection of these into "centres" of national and international interest in the second half of the 20th century have created larger databases not available to the scholars of the past. Many of these focus on the Ancient Near East or Near East in the sense of Ancient Near East. One such institution is the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents (CSAD) founded by and located centrally at Oxford University, Great Britain. Among its many activities CSAD numbers "a long-term project to create a library of digitised images of Greek inscriptions." These it arranges by region. The Egypt and the Near East region besides Egypt includes Cyprus, Persia and Afghanistan but not Asia Minor (a separate region).


Academic

A large percentage of experts on the modern
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
began their training in university departments named for the Near East. Similarly the journals associated with these fields of expertise include the words Near East or Near Eastern. The meaning of Near East in these numerous establishments and publications is Middle East. Expertise on the modern Middle East is almost never mixed or confused with studies of the Ancient Near East, although often "Ancient Near East" is abbreviated to "Near East" without any implication of modern times. For example, "Near Eastern Languages" in the ancient sense includes such languages as Sumerian language, Sumerian and Akkadian (language), Akkadian. In the modern sense, it is likely to mean any or all of the Arabic languages.


See also

*
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
* Ancient Near East *Amerocentrism * Genetic history of the Middle East * Intermediate Region * Eastern Mediterranean *
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental orga ...

Fertile Crescent
* Syria (region) *
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
* Mashriq * Mesopotamia *
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
* Near Eastern archaeology * Oriental studies *
South Caucasus Transcaucasia, also known as the South Caucasus, is a geographical region on the border of Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise ...
*
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia


References


Bibliography

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External links

* * * * * * * * {{Authority control Near East, Geography of the Middle East Geography of Western Asia Regions of Eurasia Eastern Mediterranean Middle East, . Western Asia Eurocentrism